It was a case of strange bedfellows: Landlord groups, tenant advocates and the City Council were on the same side in the fight against Mayor Eric Adams over rent vouchers.

The committee on Thursday approved a series of measures aimed at expanding voucher eligibility despite opposition from the Adams administration. The vote could set the stage for the first mayoral veto in years.

One of these measures is the repeal of the requirement that individuals and families spend at least 90 days in a homeless shelter to apply for the City Combating Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS).

Another will increase the voucher’s income eligibility.The upper limit is not 200% of the federal poverty level, but 50% of the area median income – raising the threshold to $66,700 from $55,500 Based on 2022 data, a family of four.

The Adams government criticized the measures, saying they would cost $17 billion in the first five years alone and make it harder for the existing 20,000 voucher holders to find housing due to new competition.

In a statement, Social Services Commissioner Molly Parker said the measures were “well-intentioned” but “would cause significant harm to the most vulnerable homeless New Yorkers.”

“They would disrupt a system designed to get resources to those who need them most, and instead provide tens or even hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are not homeless or at risk of becoming homeless,” Parker said in a statement. Rental assistance.”

The government said it had offered to work with councils on a measure to remove the 90-day rule that only applied to households, and another proposal to extend vouchers.

A recent reports The Citizens’ Budget Committee raised concerns about rental assistance funding, noting a $450 million shortfall. The city’s executive budget plans to spend $636 million for the rental assistance program in FY 2023, but allocates only $192 million in FY 2024.

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams criticized the government on Thursday for focusing on “merely expanding emergency shelters”.

“The choice is clear in terms of what helps New Yorkers in our community and what is cost-effective,” she said at a news conference ahead of Thursday’s vote.

Given the high cost of emergency shelters, expanding housing access could save money and be good for the health and well-being of these tenants, the spokesperson said.

She also took issue with the mayor’s $17 billion figure, saying it incorrectly included the total cost of housing, even though the vouchers only cover a portion of the rent (tenants must pay 30 percent of their income). She points to a report estimating the cost of placing a two-person family in the shelter system at $8,773 per month, and a CityFHEP voucher for a one-bedroom apartment at $2,387 per month.

The government countered that many of the vouchers would be issued to tenants who would otherwise not end up in shelters.

Landlords generally support bill packages as vouchers supplement rent. The Real Estate Board of New York testified in support of measures to eliminate the 90-day rule and raise income thresholds.

On Thursday, Michael Tobman, director of membership for the Rent Stabilization Association, said his organization “has long been a proponent of efficient, rapid delivery of government vouchers.”

Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, called the bills a step in the right direction and praised the commission for “removing many of the bureaucratic barriers that prevent renters from finding permanent housing.”

“But let’s be honest, they will have an impact on the city’s current affordable housing crisis,” he said in a statement. “These bills will help dozens of tenants at the expense of other tenants. Only in housing Vouchers are only useful if there is sufficient supply.”

The clash over the voucher bill came a day after the city’s housing chief, Jessica Katz, said she planned to step down by July. Her departure comes as the mayor is trying to limit the city’s asylum policy.

Katz did not specify why she was leaving, but the issues clearly divided her with the mayor. In a statement Wednesday, Win President and CEO and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn specifically thanked Katz for supporting the repeal of the 90-day rule.

It was not immediately clear whether the mayor would veto the measures. The speaker would not say on Thursday whether she believed the council would override the veto. But when asked about her relationship with the mayor, she chose her words carefully given their differences over asylum rights and vouchers.

“We have a fun working relationship and I’m going to leave it there,” she said.

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